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ADHD family-member-to-be trying to sabotage me

ADHD family-member-to-be trying to sabotage me2011-01-01T10:15:00+00:00

The Forums Forums Most X-treme! Most Hostile/Ignorant Thing I've Heard ADHD family-member-to-be trying to sabotage me

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  • #88875

    Post count: 173

    So, my fiance’s brother’s girlfriend (technically she’s his fiancee, but I’m going to refer to her as girlfriend to keep this post from getting too confusing) apparently has ADD. She thinks herself a real little expert too, because she studied “Social Development Studies” at University and loves to go around psychoanalyzing people . In any case, I’m no slouch in the knowledge department about ADHD either, given that I am teacher with some Special Ed certification. We had a couple of conversations about ADHD, and from what I can gather her symptoms present rather different than mine.

    Well, anyways, my future mother-in-law told me today, that the girlfriend has been going around telling family members that I don’t really have ADHD and that I self diagnosed myself. It seems that according to her because my symptoms don’t match hers, I couldn’t possibly be ADHD. (Even though, I have Combined subtype, and she has Inattentive subtype.)

    Really? I guess that means that I have an alter ego who is a Psychologist *rolleyes* and the Psychiatrist who prescribed my Concerta doesn’t know what the hell he is doing. Some woman with a B.A. in Social Development Studies knows better than they do.

    I now trying to figure out what to do about it. My fiance’s family believes me that I am not making stuff up so I could just leave well enough alone.

    On the other hand, it really irks me that Girlfriend is going around behind my back essentially calling me a liar. I don’t know if she is trying to score points at my expense, or if this was just another example of her being unable to keep her uninformed opinions to herself.


    Post count: 14413

    ignore her, and whatever you imagine her talk causes love your woman, look forward to your wedding and life together. enjoy this wonderful time in your life and be strong enough to not let this interfere in this happy time…………..dont blow off and pay the price……………..not worth it……………your honor is not being challenged Someone just wants to make stuff happen( and I bet she is young)

    “now trying to figure out what to do about it. My fiance’s family believes me that I am not making stuff up so I could just leave well enough alone” your words …………..follow them You know it so do it. Congrats!!

    From a mom…… mother in law and grandma………..dont waste energy on anything but love:) cheers


    Post count: 121

    The are many aspects to ADD and that’s why it’s so difficult to diagnose in some cases. Just because you do not bounce off the walls as typically believed by non ADDers, doesn’t mean you may not have it.

    Sound to me as if the girlfriend is practicing psychiatry without a license: dangerous and illegal in some places in addition to not maintaining confidentiality. Surely she would have learned these along the way.

    It’s people such as the girlfriend that marginalize our ADD.


    Post count: 206

    Just imagine when they have children. If she has a ADD child with combined then is she going to tell people that her child does not have ADD. Combined is the child that is literally climbing the walls and will she not medicate because it isn’t real. Just let it go for now. Unless you want to quietly take her aside and tell her that you have been hurt by what she said and that you need her to educate herself before she starts diagnosing you. Then remind her that you have the back up of both the Psychology and Psychiatry departments at the place where you were diagnosed. Now if you do it in a non confrontational way that doesn’t feel like an accusation you could both end up with a better relationship. But for now just know that you are not “Lazy, Stupid or Crazy” and you have to work on your issues and not worry about hers. Or as my secretarial instructor used to say “Smile and Nod” it drives them crazy. Look forward to a bright future with a new family with at least a mother-in-law who is in your corner.


    Post count: 226

    Wow what a beep! Granted that when I was younger (10-19) I thought I cured my ADD. She should go to one of those support groups I hear so much about and just sit and listen.


    Post count: 140

    Ooh… I’m feeling irritated for you.

    Take the high road. More dignity there because it isn’t Ivriniel vs. Girlfriend. If you do find yourself drawn into a verbal showdown with her, remember to say as little as possible, in as concise, charitable and calm a manner as you can muster.

    She’ll likely run into a wall eventually, over this or something else, and the embarrassment will quieten her down a little. You wouldn’t want to slow her down and stand in the way of that impact.


    Post count: 14413

    Saffron, you make me laugh!

    Ivriniel, take the high road and ignore her as much as you might like to smack her instead!

    Family. (or should that be ‘nearly’ family?) Gotta luv ’em one way or the other!


    Post count: 14413

    Irviniel, be the bigger person. She’s dragging you into girl-drama. She’s already got you doing that thing:

    — You downgraded her to girlfriend rather than fiancee to “avoid confusion” (?)

    — “she thinks herself a real little expert too…”

    — *rolleyes*

    — “some woman with a BA…”

    — “she this…” and “she that…”

    Without speaking to her to get a bigger picture, it’s presenting like EITHER option you presented:

    1. She’s trying to score points. You weren’t (originally), but it’s tricking you into a petty girl-fight and you’re falling for it.


    2. She’s just a little whacky when she learns new things (we all do that sometimes)–and you’re falling into the girl-fight trap here, too.

    In fact, I’m changing my advice: Don’t be the bigger woman, because that implies a hierarchy of competitors. Either ignore her or randomly invite her to watch some of the videos with you on this site (as if you just discovered it, not as a confrontation). Instead of fun girl-time taking a Cosmo test, take an ADD test (heh). And maybe if she’s misinterpreting something about you, you can help her understand.

    She’s not just a girlfriend–she’s presumably going to be around for a long while–the same as she has to see you.

    So just extend yourself in friendship. If it doesn’t work, simply back off and let it go for each of your sanities (she will hopefully come to better understanding of her new knowledge with time).

    Best of luck to you! :)

    ps. Quick story on how us women get into unnecessary drama:

    Once my sister was telling me about the most recent guy trouble in her life. I listened and responded, “You know what your problem is, it’s these guys. They’re not right for you.” I said it like a plumber says, “You know what your problem is, lady, it’s these pipes got clogs in ’em. They need cleanin’ out.”

    No big deal, right? Well I noticed a subtle look on her face that I steered the conversation away from. Later I found out she was upset because I told her she had problems. “She sat there and told me I was full of problems!”

    See how she misunderstood me? There’s what was *actually* said, and then there is what was said put through the drama filters. ;)


    Post count: 18

    Is there anything worse than a family member trying to sabotage your efforts? I feel your pain. I discovered that I had ADHD about a year and a half ago. I’m newly diagnosed as of Nov 2010. Not knowing and understanding that there has been a medically diagnosable condition affecting our family for generations has brought a lot of heart ache and unnecessary pain (divorces-financial issues-exploitation from various unscrupulous and Machiavelli types) into all our lives. And now that I’ve discover this, I am trying (almost feels futile at times) to bring this to the attention of all family members so that we can all have an understanding of what, why and how things are they way they are.

    And one of my sisters has gone out of her way to discredit everything I’ve been bringing up. She is non-ADHD. She has gone as far as to say that the reason I am the way I am is because “I wasn’t punished enough as a child” Like that wasn’t so anyway. But she blames my parents for not punishing me enough. She brings in articles written by “professionals” who also discredit the existence of ADHD.

    There are times when I wish that the symptoms were more than just behavioral issues. That maybe turning purple could be a symptom and the more severe your symptoms are, the deeper shade of purple you turned. Then there would be something physical and visual to point out.

    I’ve gone out of my mind at times trying to convey the seriousness of ADHD. But the more excited I get, the worse off it seems. Would a family member go out of its way to dismiss a cancer diagnosis? Would you tell someone that is newly diagnosed with throat cancer that you get a sore throat sometimes as well? Its sick. But as I am learning the hard way…. a calm, slow and measured approach to discussing the issues is best. And to an ADHDer that’s like an oxymoron.

    But what hurts me the most with that particular sister of mine is, regardless of my approach, she throws up her hands, dismisses me and walks away. I don’t get a chance to explain or explore anyways. So what can I do? Why is she so intent on being absolutely dismissive? It hurts….It hurts a lot.


    Post count: 16

    Hi Mark,

    I have had that similar situation in my own family. There is a lot of resistance from both suspected ADDers and non-ADDers. I have finally got them convinced that _I_ have ADHD… After 10 years. Over the years I’ve come to realize a few things. Hopefully this will help you:

    1. People will look for help with ADHD if they think they could (a) improve their existence, (b) stop failing, or (c) improve their situation… this means that the ADDer has to want to look for the root cause of a problem and then work at solving that problem. If they don’t think there is a problem… there is no problem. So, according to them, everything is fine so why rock the boat? The unfortunate part of ADD is that it is so inocuous (sp?) that even the one who is afflicted can be oblivious to it. However the effects are still there. Example from my family: A particular adult family member (I’ve always considered her an adult) has 2 degrees and to a certain extent has never reached her potential. She rarely worked in field and always had a hard time keeping a job. Why? If you ask her the reasons are numerous including others being scared by her self-confidence, she’s a woman, she’s from a different culture… The fault always lies with others rather than there could possibly be an invisible hand that sabotages her every efforts. The thing is, she considers that if she has ADHD, it means that it’s all her. She can’t see that it’s not others, it’s NOT HER, it’s ADHD. She just can’t see that difference.

    2. For non-ADDers, my experience has been that it is complete misunderstanding. Like you, my biggest critic is my non-ADD sister. She doesn’t understand what the big deal is. Even yesterday we were talking about how I suspect that my child might be ADHD… When I gave her the example of my daughter’s struggles in school, my sister couldn’t understand how my daughter could have an hour to write a test, take 30 minutes to complete it, spend 30 minutes reviewing and not see that she didn’t put the minus sign in her math answer although she carried it through the problem… According to my sister, you can make a simple mistake like that, but you’d catch it in the review… I told her THAT is ADHD. I told my sister that while this can be ok in school, to a certain extent – my daughter is really smart so she is still pulling in excellent marks – she will for ever be making those kinds of mistakes, and it’s not so ok in the work force or in life.

    Part of the misunderstanding is everyone makes mistakes. Yes, we all make mistakes. I just happen to always make the same ones – even when I try not to make them. I’m not trying to be perfect. I’m just trying to stop doing the things I know I shouldn’t do… or even just do the things I know I should be doing.

    Another part of the problem is that the diagnosis of ADHD challenges everything we’ve believed about everything… From what’s been to what is and what will be. While my diagnosis was cathartic for me, it explained a whole heck of a lot, to my family it was challenging their perception of what is normal. They always thought that I was normal. ADHD? No way… They never had to pull me out of the curtains due to hyperactivity… I was never a risk taker. I never looked for that adreneline rush. I never practiced risky behaviour. I was never disruptive in class. There’s no way that I could be ADHD. The diagnosis was a mistake. No way. I was the perfect child. (Except I always wandered off without telling anyone where I was going… there’s a story of how I took 4 children accross town to go to the “fun” park without telling anyone… Yeah, I was only 8. The other kids were younger… Mom was livid… lol but it is a typical story from my childhood… Yeah, that’s not ADHD…)

    3. As much as it hurts to be dismissed by others, the diagnosis hurts them. It challenges the norm for them. They always thought that you were normal, you were you and you were normal. Now you’re not supposedly “not normal”. If you’re “not normal” what is normal? It may be a small concern, but it’s still a concern. What they don’t understand yet is that in treating your ADHD, you will still be you. You will be you with fewer frustrations and less frustrating… believe me, your ADHD made you frustrating to others… Well maybe not you, but it certainly did me…

    So my best advice is, stay calm. Don’t worry. Work on yourself. Do what you need to do to be healthy and happy. Don’t try to save them (I know it’s counter intuitive), but do throw out the life ring. That means don’t preach, but be open to their questions… when they see the positive changes happening in your life, they’ll have some. It just takes a while for them to notice. Keep in mind that you know exactly how many times and how many ways “you used to screw up”. Others don’t know where you struggled. You’ll be the first to see the improvements because you’re not making the “stupid mistakes”. You won’t be asking yourself “How did I miss that?” because you will have caught it. You’ll be the first to see those changes. At one point, you’ll be successful at moving forward and others will notice that you’ve moved ahead. They’ll ask you your secret. They’ll be looking for their own answers and solutions to the problems that they are having.

    Remember that your family does love you. Let anyone say anything bad about you and they’ll be there defending you. Let something bad happen and they’ll be the first at your side and stepping up to the plate to help you. Take care of yourself, and everything will fall into place. It’ll just take time, so don’t push it. Seriously… It took 10 years for me. I wish it hadn’t, but my family’s stubborn – so I come by it naturally, and I just wouldn’t let go of that bone… ;)


    Post count: 430


    Let’s disregard the whole ADD thing. Yea… I know that’s a leap. Work with me.

    It sounds like you have enough drama in your life without having to borrow drama from someone else. So why do it to yourself? Realisticly, after the wedding, this person will be a distant relative at best and a temporary one at that with whom you will have little or no direct contact. So who cares what she says? It has no effect on you or what you are trying to do with your life, right?

    I don’t know about you, but I have always tried to surround myself with people who bring me peace and make me want to be better than I am. I avoid to the point of rudeness everyone else and that includes family. Its harsh, I know. But I still have friends and family. Thankfully, I am also lacking in a lot of drama from external sources.

    I am working on the self-imposed drama, which is a WHOLE other subject! ;)


    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    Ivriniel, re-read Rick’s advice on how to answer a skeptic who dismisses ADHD as not being real. It’s in one of his blog postings from last year.

    Basically, it involves calmly saying, “That’s very interesting,” then asking the person how they came to that conclusion…Do they believe all the diagnostic criteria listed in the DSM-IV are false, or do they think that the threshold is set too high. You could also calmly ask them how they feel about the discovery of the LPHN-3 gene and its confirmed link to ADHD. And bring in something about the brain imaging scans which have shown a very clear reduced function in the right pre-frontal cortex of the ADHD brain, which does not appear in the non-ADHD brain.

    The key is to do this in a way that makes you appear to recognize that the other person has done the sort of intensive research that you have, so knows as much about it as you do. You’re talking to them, expert to expert, and you (seem to) value their input. If you do this properly, the other person will immediately realize that they’re in trouble—as they’d be if a doctor mistook them for another doctor, and tried to have a discussion with them about some obscure medical condition, using obscure medical words.

    You can play this out for a while, or you can just smile and walk away as soon as the look of, “I’m in way over my head” descends over the skeptic’s face.


    Post count: 14413

    the next time someone said anything to me personally, i think i’d do my best to laugh just a little bit too much, too loudly, wipe a fake tear from my eye, and say “goodness me, somebody thinks i’m really important and interesting if they’re bothering to go around passing judgements and talking about me all over the place- gosh, what an honour- i feel like a celebrity!” .

    if she was present, i’d then ask her ‘just out of curiousity’ when she got her doctorate in psychiatry or psychology- cos you didn’t know she had one. then while she rambled, i’d ask if i needed to provide a notarised letter from my *actual* psychiatrist, to attend any further get-togethers, or whether perhaps life could possibly continue in some sembiance of normality without my needing to bother with any of that nonsense and her needing to make up special diagnoses- with a big grin, then add- ” oh! actually … i think i have his number in here somewhere… *rummage in purse* maybe you could call DR whatsamijig and explain to him where he screwed up his assessment- i’ll tell him to expect your call, okie- cos i’m sure he’d appreciate your insight!”….

    then i’d say “well, this was um…. bizzarre…. i gotta go… things to pretend, people to murder….”, twitch a little bit, and then wander off chuckling to myself like nothing remotely worthy of my attention just happened. cos rising right above it and refusing to be bothered by it or take her REMOTELY seriously- let alone to get drawn in, that’d piss her right off.

    honestly, if she’s that insecure and attention seeking, then anyone who knows her already will either know that she talks out of her arse about things she doesn’t know squat about, and roll their eyes at the latest crap she’s spewed and carry on as normal, or they’re terribily doomed to a lifetime of gullibility- either way, thats not your issue.

    just don’t give her the satisfaction of getting wound up. you know that you have ADHD. THATS what counts. everyone else can think whatever they want to- and they will, regardless of how much energy you waste on it.


    Post count: 206

    My SIL is a retired teacher. My spouse is 17 years younger then her and when she was going to University she was an expert on Child Psychology. Everything Hubby did was wrong, delayed, bad, too fast, too slow etc.. When he was two his sister told his parents that he should be perfectly disciplined and be toilet trained, and sit at the table eating with manners. Her Professors told her so. She would rave on and on about what he wasn’t doing yet. Her parents rolled their eyes because they had actually already raised 3 children, all different yet all perfectly fine.

    A few years later SIL had 4 children. Boy, girl and then twin boys. She came out to the house and had her feet in the water. She was going on about how the twins were so slow doing things, and their behaviour and how they were so slow to toilet train. After about an hour of this her dad said to her “Why don’t you apply some of that Child Psychology to them and get them to hurry this up, you told us that it was all supposed to be easy if you just followed the steps”, after a few minutes of thought my SIL looks at her dad and says “you didn’t believe that stuff did you” and he says “no, but you did”.

    So you see it is easy to sit in judgement when you have a little bit of knowledge. From our perch on high we can proclaim things with great authority. But when we have to actually live it we lose our surety and then we slowly realize that maybe everything we were sure of was either wrong or at best half right. Keep your head up and look your new in-laws in the face and remind them she isn’t your doctor and she doesn’t have a clue what she is talking about.

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